Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I Choose to Home School

     I went to a public school from Kindergarten through 10th grade.  I wasn't particularly happy there, but I was far from being as miserable as my overly dramatic memories tell me I was.  It was a good school- not great, but decent.  (My oldest daughter actually attends the same school.)  In fact, when I attended school, I was one of those pesky honors students that people talk about.  I was in the Gifted program.  I won the spelling bee.  I participated in debate and the drill team and all manner of academic competitions.  In fact, my 10th grade year I attended 10 days of school.  The rest of the time I was on some sort of field trip.  Despite my lack of attendance, I still made excellent grades.
Oh my.  I was such a dork in my Hard Rock Cafe shirt.  (Yeah, that's me on the end in the purple shirt.)  I wasn't very popular, but the two girls next to me were.  And we were stuck together--- no, literally.  The chick next to me and I shared EVERY class from 6th grade on and the other girl only had 4 classes different in six years.  The boy on the other end was also an honor's student and shared a ton of classes with me.

     I looked forward to Chaos's school days.  He could make friends.  I could host sleep-overs and backyard camp-outs for his little friends and him.  I could send in cookies and cupcakes.  I could join the PTA and do all the cool things for him that my Mom did for me when I was a kid.

     Public school district's Pre-K went as well as could be expected, considering I was very pregnant with Doc and was put on bed rest.  (I wasn't allowed to drive AT ALL.) Husbeastie was sent out of state on business and of course, a blizzard moved in that week.  His teacher was really nice about him missing class and actually offered to give him a ride to school.  Then, in April, we were evacuated from our rental home.  Once Hubby moved our belongings to a new rental, the kids and I returned and Chaos finished out pre-k with his friends.

    In Kindergarten, the trouble started.  I sent in a doctor's note that due to health concerns, Chaos would need to take a nap.  I talked to several people at the school and I was assured over and over again that all Kindergartners took naps and that they would meet every accommodation.  I went ahead and enrolled him.  Chaos was so excited to get to ride the school bus to school.  However, several days each week I was called to come pick him up due to behavior issues.  Chaos was growing wild and erratic every afternoon.   It always started after lunchtime.  I'd pick him up from school, him acting like a crazy hyper animal, and he'd fall asleep before we were even home.  When he'd wake up, he was a sweet little kid again.  It turned out that nap time was relevant to how much work the students finished.  On average, the students were given fifteen minutes to lay down and rest because the class would take too long to complete their work.  I talked to everyone in the school district I could about his need for a nap.  The end result was that they didn't have the man power available to allow him a longer nap.  I pulled him from school in October 09 and began the home schooling process.
A mosaic that Chaos made for an art assignment in September.  Can you see the fish?

    We're almost through with 1st Grade.  Home schooling an ADHD child is a bit of a challenge.  I have to play heavily into unschooling techniques and employ a lot of media learning to keep his mind focused.  There are subjects that make him cry- like reading and handwriting- but for the most part, he's realized that while the other kids are stuck at school all day waiting on everyone else to get finished, he gets to stay home, watch TV, and play with his brother--- and school work only takes as long as he wants it to take.  And yes, he still takes naps almost every day.
Taking advantage of getting out of the house.  This place mat was a restaurant freebie but gave a nice little lesson on Ancient Egypt.  Add in a big cup of cocoa, and he was a very happy little man that totally charmed the waitstaff.

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